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Google Searches Show Disturbing Truths about Our Prejudices

Everybody lies, but Google searches reveal our darkest secrets. That's the conclusion of US data scientist Seth Stephens Davidowitz, who analyzes anonymous Google search results. His research shows disturbing truths about our prejudices. Stephens-Davidowitz writes:

Consider what happened shortly after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, on 2 December, 2015 … That evening, minutes after the media first reported one of the shooters' Muslim-sounding names … the top Google search in California with the word "Muslims" in it at the time was "kill Muslims." And overall, Americans searched for the phrase "kill Muslims" with about the same frequency that they searched for "martini recipe" and "migraine symptoms." In the days following the San Bernardino attack, for every American concerned with "Islamophobia," another was searching for "kill Muslims."

He also notes the popularity hate-fueled internet searches for the "N-word."

Either singular or in its plural form, the word is included in 7 million American searches every year. Searches for "N-word jokes" are 17 times more common than searches for [other ethically derogatory jokes]. When are these searches most common? Whenever African Americans are in the news. Among the periods when such searches were highest was the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when television and newspapers showed images of desperate black people in New Orleans struggling for their survival. They also shot up during Obama's first election. And searches rose on average about 30 percent on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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